Rock return home ready to play in front their fans on Friday night
The Timmins Rock finished up their recent three-game road trip, emerging with a 1-1-1 record.
POWASSAN VOODOOS 4, TIMMINS ROCK 3 – Shootout (Saturday)
The Rock made their first visit to Powassan of the season in a clash of the top two teams in the NOJHL standings, and both with long winning streaks on the line.
Powassan took three separate leads in the game, only to be answered by the Rock each time, including a goal from David Laroche with less than five minutes left in the third period.
The game went to a shootout, where a goal from veteran Voodoo Tomas Yachmenev in the fourth round sealed the extra point for Powassan. Final shots favoured the Voodoos 39-37.
Rock head coach Beer was happy to steal a point off the best team in the league on the road, and showing plenty of resilience in the process.
“It was an early test here in October. It didn’t work out the way we wanted it to, but in two games against that team, we have an overtime and a shootout loss, so it’s pretty good hockey from us,” he said.
FRENCH RIVER RAPIDS 2, TIMMINS ROCK 1 (Sunday)
The Rock made a visit to Noelville for a Sunday-afternoon matinee. The Rapids came in on a high after an impressive win over the Blind River Beavers at last week’s NOJHL Showcase.
Rock blue liner Aidan Milne scored his first NOJHL goal in the first period, which was answered by Rapids captain Reid Manning midway through the second. A power play goal from Ty Chambers with less than two minutes left in the third period gave the Rapids the narrow 2-1 victory.
Timmins outshot French River 43-32. Chase Johnson was outstanding in net for the Rapids, stopping 42 of the 43 shots he faced. Rock netminder Vance Meyer took the first loss of his NOJHL career, but was impressive as well, making 30 saves on 32 shots against.
The game served as a bit of a reality check for the Rock, taking a loss to the last place team in the East Division, but wasn’t anything to panic about, according to Beer.
“I just think we ran into a hot goalie. That guy played outstanding, and unfortunately, that’s the game of hockey. You don’t have your best game every night. It’s a good learning point for us.”
TIMMINS ROCK 4, HEARST LUMBERJACKS 0 (Tuesday)
The Rock brought a bit of that sour note into Hearst on Tuesday night for their first visit of the year to the rowdy Claude Larose Arena. The Lumberjacks came in on a seven-game winning streak.
What transpired was perhaps the most impressive performance of the season for the Rock.
“Textbook Timmins Rock hockey to be quite honest. We managed the puck so well. We had great transitions, great speed on the offensive side of things,” said Beer.
The Rock got two goals from Laroche, and singles from Cameron Kosurko and Josh Dickson, in a big 4-0 road win. Tyler Masternak stopped all 18 shots he faced, for his second shutout of the season, and the 10th of his NOJHL career.
Beer was most impressed with his team’s penalty kill effort, singling out the steady play of defenceman Eric Moreau. The Lumberjacks had 6 powerplays, but only managed two shots on net, while the Rock were able to create plenty of offence, including Dickson’s shorthanded goal to seal the win.
“You go into a hostile environment, like it usually is in Hearst, and to not give up any goals against them, it keeps their fans at bay, takes them out of it, and I just loved our game. A great team win and certainly a good feeling coming back home for one more game to close out the month.”
The Timmins Rock will get a huge boost on the blueline with the announcement that hometown boy, Phil Caron has been returned to the team from the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL. Caron, who participated in training camp with the Rock, was impressive enough to crack the Wolves roster. Caron played nine games with the Wolves, notching five assists. It is certainly possible that Sudbury may ask for his services again at some point, but for now the Rock are ecstatic to have him back in the lineup, which he will be, on Friday night.
“He’s a guy who we kind of anticipated starting with,” said Beer.
“We’re obviously extremely happy to have him back,” adding that he’s been more than impressed with the team’s defensive core this season. Caron makes it that much deeper.
The Rock have also acquired forward Jonah Devereux from the Espanola Express, in exchange for a player development fee. Devereux, who was in the lineup on Tuesday against Hearst, has 11 points in 15 games played this season. The 18 year old from Fort Erie, Ont., is a speedy winger who will fit nicely into the lineup according to Beer, particularly with left winger Riley Brousseau on the shelf for a while.
“He can play the wing, and play the middle. He’s got good creative tools, and a great shot.”
The Rock are back in action on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. as they host the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.